Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a private audience on May 16


Vatican Spokesman Explains Pope's 'Angel of Peace' Gift to President Abbas

Says Medallion and Encouragement to Palestinian President is Invitation to Commit to Peace

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Pope Francis’ invitation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to become “an angel of peace” has made headlines around the world. The Pope said those words while presenting a medallion with the image of the ‘Angel of Peace’ during President Abbas’ visit to the Vatican on Saturday.

When asked to expand on the Holy Father’s words by journalists, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, explained that the medallion is a gift that the Pope often gives to heads of state.

“When the Pope presents [the medallion] to the president, he says a few words to explain why he gives this gift, that is the desire and commitment to peace. The meaning of the gift is clear as a hope and invitation to commit themselves to peace,” Fr. Lombardi explained.

“Each one of us,” he continued, “should be for others and for the world as an angel – a messenger of peace. Personally, I was present at the audience, but I did not hear the exact words because they were said in a conversational manner and close between the two.

Concluding his statement, Fr. Lombardi said that the “meaning to encourage the commitment to peace seems clear to me and I believe that it is necessary to specify that that the same gift of the symbol of the angel of peace is given by the Pope with this intention to many presidents and not just Abbas.” He also stated that the Pope has given a different medallion to others, which depicts St. Martin giving his cloak to a poor man, which is meant to convey the need to help the poor. (J.A.E.)

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To read more on President Abbas’ meeting with Pope Francis, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-to-president-mahmoud-abbas-may-you-be-an-angel-of-peace

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